Beta tester report regarding version 1.10.2

Device: 12.9” iPad Pro (1 TB model)
iOS Version: 12.3.1
Panels Version: 1.10.2 (Build: 201905241405)
Current Size of collection: 329.4 GB
Current number of stacks: 247
Current number of comics: approx. 10,200

Often (very often, like almost every time) when I open a collection, or return to a collection from within one of its comics, there are missing cover images - blank spaces where the cover image should appear. When this happens, usually less than half are missing. Tapping on a blank space will still open the comic. Then closing that comic causes the cover image to appear as normal in the collection, but only that cover is restored. One would have to tap all the missing ones to restore them all. Also, pinching a collection with blank spaces shut and re-opening it might result in restoring all the covers, or not, or the number and mix of missing and displayed covers may have changed.

Another common display error happening within collections is the last row of titles bunching up and not adhering to the grid layout. This only happens in the final row, regardless of the number of rows. If the collection is very small and there is only one row, bunching up does not seem to occur, at least not that I’ve seen yet. I have attached a screenshot of this problem to illustrate.

Once, when at the top of the library, dragging down on the library to reveal the search and the list and sort icons did not work properly. It sprung right back without allowing access to those functions despite repeated attempts. This was not true within a collection. In a collection it worked properly. This was an isolated error that corrected itself after awhile.

The jerky scrolling I experienced prior to this beta version is gone. Scrolling is very smooth.

When importing comics to a pre-existing collection it is cumbersome to have to scroll for miles to choose the target collection name from the list, especially if the title falls later in the alphabet. I thought of this after importing Zap Comix #16 (yay R. Crumb!). My list is 247 collections long and growing daily (as I am still sorting and organizing a vast collection into Panels). It would be really, really nice if I could just start typing the name of the collection, or the first letter perhaps, to be immediately scrolled to that location in the list, where I could then tap the appropriate title to add the comic.

That is all I can think of for now. Thanks for all you do. This app is a comics collector’s dream come true!

Joe Cunningham
Minneapolis, Minnesota

1 Like

Outstanding feedback. Thanks for taking the time @joecunningham. I’m glad that the performance issue is gone :blush:

We’ll take all these comments and suggestions into account.
Again thank you so much for your dedication.

EDIT: This first update incorrectly presupposes that loose spacing is the norm and tight spacing is an anomaly. In update 2 it dawns on me that actually the reverse is true. In update 3, the issue is fully explored and explained.

An update: Noticed something weird today while importing comics with the iPad in landscape orientation with its keyboard. Instead of the usual four comics per row, for whatever reason a new collection I created displayed five in a row. When I rotated the iPad back to portrait orientation, it displayed the usual three per row (I am using the small grid in Settings > Library). Have not seen this happen before, although the spacing is exactly the same as the last-row-bunching-up bug I reported earlier. To be honest, since this demonstrates that the iPad can display an additional comic per row, I prefer the tighter spacing. I can see more titles at once and am required to do less scrolling. Perhaps a grid spacing option can be added to settings to allow this. Sometimes a bug is really a feature in disguise. :slight_smile: I have attached an image of two screenshots: one of the tightly spaced collection compared to a typical collection. I did close it and reopen it a couple times to see if the tight spacing would revert to normal, but so far it hasn’t changed.

Incidentally, in both screenshots you’ll notice I have created a dummy .cbr file to serve as a cover for the stack. Heavy Metal has been going for five decades and, being a graphic designer, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to make some HM covers. Yes, that’s Elon Musk’s red Tesla floating in space, albeit with a more impressive background shot of the Earth swapped in. You may recall the 1981 Heavy Metal animated film began with an astronaut in a convertible floating above he planet. Heh heh. For grins I’ve also attached a screenshot of the full set of decade covers I made (they go all the the way to the 2050s - should I and the magazine both be fortunate enough to last that long). Enjoy!


Update 2: OK, so now I’ve realized that once I quit and relaunched Panels, every collection is 5 comics wide (or 4 wide in portrait). Not sure why it was spacing them loosely. Perhaps THAT is the bug: every row showing 4 instead of five (or 3 instead of 4 in portrait) and the last row was often displaying correctly - giving the appearance of being bunched up when actually the preceding rows were loosely spaced in error.

Oh and about those Heavy Metal coversheets, the Images are:

The 70s: Jupiter cloud tops, photographed up close by Juno.
The 80s: An artist’s impression of skimming the surface of Neptune.
The 90s: Surface texture of the sun’s photosphere.
The 00s: An artist’s impression of ancient Mars and its oceans based on geological data.
The 10s: New Horizon’s psychedelic Pluto in colors that represent terrain types.
The 20s: Moon photographed at perigee.
The 30s: MESSANGER image of Caloris basin, Mercury.
The 40s: Hubble’s ”Smiley" image of a galaxy cluster’s gravitational lensing.
The 50s: A black hole, sort of.
Related Pubs: Cassini’s false color view of Saturn’s aurora (in green)
Comic Books: First automobile in space.

Even though I may not live long enough to use it, I updated the 2050s image today to include the recent actual photo of a black hole to go with my phoney-baloney black hole that’s bent the logo. Couldn’t resist. Too much time on my hands apparently…

Update 3: Learned much more about the grid spacing bug today.

To keep this from getting too wordy:

  1. Tight means the grid is correctly displaying 5 stacks/comics per row in landscape and 4 per row in portrait orientation
  2. Loose means the grid is incorrectly displaying 4 stacks/comics per row in landscape and 3 per row in portrait orientation
  3. Reset the grid means I quit Panels, rotated the iPad to portrait orientation and then relaunched Panels, which always results in a tight grid to use as a starting point for the various experiments detailed below. Once relaunched from portrait, the grid remains tight when the ipad is rotated to landscape. I should also confirm that when I quit I did not just dismiss the app with a flick of four fingers, but actually force-quit Panels from the the app switcher view.

At first I was not testing anything, just doing an import. What I noticed led me to investigate to the fullest extent what is going on. With the grid tight in landscape orientation (keyboard attached) I imported several comics to a pre-existing collection and watched. As the the thin white progress bar at the top completed, the spacing of the library stacks shifted before my eyes, becoming loose. Quitting and relaunching in landscape did not change the wider spacing. However: quitting, turning the iPad sideways to portrait orientation and then relaunching Panels DID RESET the grid to the tighter (and proper) spacing. With the grid tight again in landscape I found that this import-induced spacing error was repeatable.

Then I reset the grid and returned to landscape. This time instead of importing I just opened a random stack. Inside, it was spaced loose, then I pinched it shut and this forced the Library to become loose. I then opened a stack I remembered being tight inside (the Heavy Metal Comic Book collection from yesterday’s screenshot). It remained tightly spaced (an anomaly). I pinched it shut to see if this would change the spacing of the library back to tight, but it did not.

I then reset the grid, went back to landscape and immediately opened the same tight collection and closed it to see if the Library would stay tight. It did not.

I then reset the grid and immediately quit in while still tight in portrait. Then I went back to landscape orientation and relaunched. This did not result in tight spacing.

I then reset the grid and immediately (without turning it to landscape) imported comics to a pre-existing stack. The Library remained tight after the progress bar. While remaining in portrait orientation, I began opening and closing stack after stack after stack. All were tight inside. This same activity in landscape orientation revealed stack after stack after stack of loosely spaced comics.

Conclusion: The grid spacing bug is related to landscape orientation. All loosely displayed grids happened in that orientation. The only way I could get the library to display loosely in portrait orientation was to rotate to it from an already loose landscape grid. Interestingly, if one rotates a loose landscape grid to a loose portrait grid and then opens a stack. The contents of the stack will be tight and pinching it shut will return you to a portrait grid that has tightened back up.

Basically, landscape orientation is buggy and wants to be loose and the only way to tighten it is to reset the grid, and then it will loosen if you do any activity such as importing or opening and closing a stack. Portrait orientation is not buggy and the grid will always remain tight if you keep it oriented that way, and importing or opening and closing stacks are safe activities. Also stacks opened in landscape are (almost) always loose inside. Stacks opened in portrait are always tight inside. The only exception is that single collection (the Heavy Metal Comic Book collection from yesterday’s screenshot). That collection will be tight inside in landscape regardless. This is odd and is apparently the exception that proves the rule.

I really hope you can squash this bug. Consistently tight spacing that never changes, regardless of activity or orientation is absolutely necessary if Panels is to be a polished, finished app that feels reliable. IMHO.

Best, Joe

P.S. Before all of this experimentation created a clear picture of the problem, you’ll remember I had incorrectly assumed that loose spacing was the norm and tight spacing the exception (see the first update). This was because I have been spending all of my time in landscape orientation importing and organizing, and rarely have used Panels in portrait. I’d only use panels in portrait orientation to read comics - something I plan to do a lot of once my entire collection is fully installed. Someday…